by Cassidy Gillard
I’ve been recently reminded of the importance of being kind, and spreading kindness has been on my mind a lot. Humans are so unique in the way that we feel emotion so deeply. Whether the emotions experienced are positive or negative, they all affect the way we live our lives, and everything about the human experience.
Another unique part of being human is the ability to hide those emotions or to share them, and it is up to each person what they choose to do.
Actress Kristen Bell was interviewed on Ellen a few years ago after she had an incredibly emotional experience when her now-husband Dax Shepard surprised her with a sloth visiting for her birthday party. She was overwhelmed with joy because of her intense love for (or slight obsession over…) sloths. Bell began her story by saying, “if I’m not between a 3 and a 7 on the emotional scale, I’m crying.” Through her interview with Ellen and her commentating on the video as it played for the entire world to see, Bell allowed the world into her emotions, and although the interview is funny and lighthearted, I felt it was incredibly brave of Bell to share that raw emotion with the world. You can view the video here.
Perhaps we aren’t all experiencing emotions on the same level as Kristen Bell. Some sort of emotion, though, is always present. Sometimes visibly so, and sometimes not.
I think my point is that you can’t always tell. It’s not always easy to see that raw emotion, even if it is present for someone else. I recently read an article which spoke about emotional pain and how distractingly invisible it is. A student had his heart broken and had to take a test immediately afterwards. His friend had been excused from taking the test because he had twisted his ankle and it was visibly swollen and bruised. When the heartbroken student approached the teacher to explain his emotional experience, the teacher essentially dismissed his pain because it wasn’t visible.
The invisibility of emotion in people who experience it less dramatically than Kristen Bell is so important to be reminded of. There may not be a quick band-aid or duct tape solution to emotion, however there is one way to absolutely guarantee to lift people’s spirits just a little bit. Kindness.
It is so simple. Be patient when you’re in line at the grocery store and the old woman in front of you is taking too long. Speak gently to the customer service rep on the phone when you are having a problem with a product that you were sure would be amazing. Shake hands with the soccer team you just beat, or lost to, and mean it when you say “good game.” Smile at a stranger. Ask people how their day is going. Be genuine. Be kind.
Now, I’m not saying that being kind will solve the problems of the world or anything crazy like that. I’m just saying that a little bit of kindness goes a long way in this world. As Ian Maclaren once said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”